After countless lunches and dinners, tens of thousands of calories, and hours of careful deliberation and debate, our fourth annual ranking of the Denver area’s best restaurants is complete. Dig in for a comprehensive, of-the-moment snapshot of the local dining scene.
4 Mizuna (last year 6)
Eleven years after Frank Bonanno opened Mizuna, some diners might wonder why the lobster macaroni and cheese remains on the menu. After all, Mizuna is known for its innovation. But this was Bonanno’s first signature dish in his first restaurant, and it propelled him onto the Denver scene—and even now, the trifecta of briny lobster, smooth mascarpone, and tender pasta is superb. Today, many years and many restaurants later, the starter can be used as a metaphor for Bonanno’s culinary leanings. The dish signifies decadence, refinement, balance, and ultimately, steadiness—all characteristics present in Bonanno’s ever-expanding empire. And so the lobster macaroni and cheese lives on, alongside more ambitious dishes such as the octopus à la plancha, with its impossibly tender octopus and smoky tomato broth, and an ethereal veal tenderloin draped over a complex onion sauce. Elegant service and a wine-by-the-glass program that surpasses others in terms of interest, breadth, and price will round out the near-perfect evening. 225 E. Seventh Ave., 303-832-4778, mizunadenver.com